EALA mounts pressure on police over torture


Ugly scenes of torture of suspects by Police are likely to provoke instability, the East African Legislative Assembly has warned.

“Police must handle suspects with sensitivity and high level of professional conduct,” said Mr Mike Sebalu.

Mr Sebalu made the caution while officiating at the launch of the Committee on Humanitarian and Social Issues in the Great Lakes region at the Common Wealth Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo on Tuesday, where he represented the regional Assembly’s Speaker, Mr Dan Kidega.

“Uganda has had a long history of both internally displaced persons and refugees, so we need not provoke situations that might spark similar developments,” he said.
He also asked the police leadership to hold its errant officers with individual culpability, saying that misconduct should not be seen to be tolerated in a country that espouses core democratic practices and rule of law.

The Committee on Humanitarian and Social Issues will be chaired by Rwanda and Burundi as agreed by consensus.

It will be charged with ensuring understanding of the “protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally displaced persons and the “protocol on the property rights of returning persons” which are part of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development.

Ms Margauerite Nyagahura (Senator Rwanda) who was elected chair said that, “We have a responsibility to help find solutions for peace and stability and we have to work and ensure that these people are protected and their rights observed.”

“We have thousands of refugees and Internally Displaced persons languishing in camps in our countries…we may not have all the solutions now but there is work in progress,” she added.

Mr Prosper Higiro, the Secretary General of the Forum of Parliaments of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region said that there is need to find solutions for causes of instabilities that led to high refugee crises.

To achieve this, Mr Higiro from Rwanda, said that Legislative Assemblies from partner states must support the committee.
“We appeal to the Parliamentarians to play a key role in uprooting the causes of displacement in the respective member states by undertaking to advocate for mechanisms to reduce the number of displaced persons either internally or across their borders,” he said.

The Forum of the Forum of Parliaments of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is an inter parliamentary organisation composed of 12memeber states, including Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Central African Republic and Rwanda.
Others are Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia as well as South Sudan and Congo Brazaville.

The role of Parliamentarians and National Parliaments in the implementation of identified Protocols will be discussed and resolutions from the floor will be documented for presentation to the Plenary Assembly in December this year.

Mr Sebalu said that the formation of a committee on Humanitarian and Social issues was timely because of the present demands and challenges faced by new refugee crisis in Burundi and South Sudan.

“Our region has greatly suffered insecurity and peace has eluded most of our people and their freedom,” Sebalu said
He said that the committee needs to benchmark and strengthen efforts taken by Uganda and Kenya in accommodating refugees and internally displaced countries.

“Uganda offers very good lessons in terms of pursuit for Humanitarian interventions,” he said

Uganda which was once a leading exporter of refugees is today, the net importers of refugees and asylum seekers.

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